Microsoft defends Activision Blizzard deal after Sony expresses fears over Call of Duty

Daniel Sims

Posts: 586   +21
Staff
In a nutshell: Sony recently expressed concerns that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard could cause serious harm to the market if Call of Duty or other Activision games became exclusive to Microsoft's platforms. Microsoft's latest response refutes that assertion, accuses Sony of being afraid of Game Pass, and calls the PlayStation manufacturer hypocritical in light of its exclusivity deals.

This week, Microsoft sent a lengthy defense of its Activision Blizzard acquisition to Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE). It mainly says that Sony's fears of anticompetitive exclusivity practices are unfounded.

Last week, many large game companies, including Sony, responded to an inquiry from CADE, one of many international competition regulators scrutinizing the Microsoft-Activision deal. Sony told CADE that it thinks Call of Duty would be irreplaceable if Microsoft ended the development of PlayStation versions — that no other developer or publisher could release a game that competes on the same level.

Microsoft disagreed and reiterated its intention to keep future Activision Blizzard games like Call of Duty, Diablo 4, and Overwatch 2 on PlayStation. Furthermore, it claimed that making such games exclusive wouldn't attract enough new customers to Xbox to compensate for lost sales of PlayStation versions. Microsoft still supports PlayStation and Nintendo Switch versions of Minecraft, recognizing it is bigger than Xbox could ever be.

Sony's and Microsoft's comments to CADE raise the question of how much competition Call of Duty has. Its free-to-play Battle Royale mode — Warzone — has plenty of rivals like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and PUBG. The landscape is less clear when comparing rival games to Call of Duty's other multiplayer modes or solo campaigns. Battlefield is the most obvious competitor, but its most recent entry — Battlefield 2042 — lacks a single-player narrative and received a cold reception from players and critics.

Rainbow Six Siege is another popular military-themed multiplayer shooter, but its gameplay style doesn't overlap perfectly with Call of Duty. Microsoft highlighted other companies' remarks questioning the usefulness of genre categories to CADE. For example, Overwatch may compete with Apex, Siege, Valorant, or Team Fortress 2 (the last two of which aren't on PlayStation), despite all being different combinations of hero shooters, tactical shooters, and battle royale games.

However, Sony didn't say that no other company could make a game like Call of Duty, only that they can't replicate Call of Duty's brand. It has easily been the top-selling premium-priced first-person shooter for several years (though its biggest competitors nowadays are free-to-play).


Machine translation from Portuguese

In addition to stating it won't make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox anytime soon, Microsoft called out Sony's deals to keep games like Deathloop, Ghostwire Tokyo, and the Final Fantasy VII remake off Xbox. Deahtloop and Ghostwire are from Bethesda, which Microsoft acquired after Sony struck those deals.

Microsoft also called out Sony's fears that putting Call of Duty and Blizzard games on Game Pass would represent a "tipping point," drawing customers away from retail PlayStation purchases. The company claimed Sony is afraid that a subscription service, representing a new business model, would threaten its dominance in traditional console game distribution.

Sony recently responded to competition from Game Pass by completely restructuring PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a multi-tiered service. However, Microsoft insinuated Sony's refusal to include its latest in-house releases like Horizon Forbidden West or Gran Turismo 7 in the subscription indicated hesitance to commit fully to the business model.

Additionally, the Redmond company explained that acquiring Activision Blizzard doesn't give it anywhere close to monopolistic market share in any corner of the gaming sector. It claims that it and Activision Blizzard each have no more than a 10-percent slice of the game development pie. Furthermore, while Microsoft has over 30 percent of the console game digital distribution market, Sony has over 50 percent.

Call of Duty's uniqueness and importance in the market is up for debate, but it seems unlikely that buying Activision Blizzard would give Microsoft an unfair advantage.

Permalink to story.

 

m4a4

Posts: 3,011   +3,956
TechSpot Elite
Furthermore, it claimed that making such games exclusive wouldn't attract enough new customers to Xbox to compensate for lost sales of PlayStation versions.
Good. One of the gaming companies actually said what I and many others have been saying about exclusives.

Now, if only they could put that to practice more than they are...
 

umbala

Posts: 690   +1,248
Hypocrisy describes Sony perfectly here.
Maybe they should wake up and smell themselves.
Companies like Sony who like to dictate to users what they want instead of listening to them to find out what they want, they hate competition. I could go down a long list of products and services that Sony tried to cram down our throats in hopes of creating a monopoly. Anyone remember their proprietary MiniDisc before MP3 players were the norm? Or their stupid Memory Stick Duo bull crap they refused to let go of for years. Sony used to make phones, MP3 players, cameras, etc. that ONLY worked with their Duo garbage and only allowed SD cards when people started to ignore their products. After Sega exited the console market Sony assumed they would automatically become king of the castle, so no wonder they don't like competition form Microsoft.
 

human7

Posts: 71   +48
Hypocrisy describes Sony perfectly here.
Maybe they should wake up and smell themselves.
Unfortunately, it isn't called hypocrisy when it convinces the regulators, it's just called good business. And all businesses do this: whine and complain about the competition, hoping that whoever they are complaining to doesn't notice their own deeds, good or otherwise.
 

Irata

Posts: 2,194   +3,787
Curious how Sony went from ‚get our console, we have tons of exclusives‘ to ‚exclusives are bad‘….

Note: I think both XBox and Playstation are fine consoles but that‘s really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
 

eforce

Posts: 1,026   +1,477
Exclusives are what made people want consoles, now they are just PC's for dumb/poor people, although given the direction of the world perhaps that's a growth market and I should buy Sony/M$ stock....
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,578   +1,075
Staff member
Companies like Sony who like to dictate to users what they want instead of listening to them to find out what they want, they hate competition. I could go down a long list of products and services that Sony tried to cram down our throats in hopes of creating a monopoly. Anyone remember their proprietary MiniDisc before MP3 players were the norm? Or their stupid Memory Stick Duo bull crap they refused to let go of for years. Sony used to make phones, MP3 players, cameras, etc. that ONLY worked with their Duo garbage and only allowed SD cards when people started to ignore their products. After Sega exited the console market Sony assumed they would automatically become king of the castle, so no wonder they don't like competition form Microsoft.

RANT
I've been a PlayStation user since the beginning, and for most of that time, I've been satisfied with the experience. I've never owned an Xbox or had any interest in owning one. Although to be honest, part of my reluctance was simply because I hate Microsoft and refused to hand it over any of my money, but that's a whole other rant.

That said, over the last several years (starting with the PlayStation 4), Sony has been pissing me off over a few issues that almost pushed me to buy a Series X.

The biggest gripe I had/have is that starting with the PS4, you could only install games on one [primary] console. Before that, you could install the same game without buying another copy on up to 5 machines. Now I have no need to install a game on five machines, but I have always had two for every generation of PS I have owned. One in the living room and one in the bedroom, That way if someone wanted to watch TV or whatever, I could just head into the other room and continue playing.

Well, along comes the PS4. I buy two, get them set up, and everything is fine, until one day, I tried playing GTA 4 in the bedroom. Went through the install process, then went to start the game, but nothing happens. Then I notice this little padlock icon in the corner of the game's icon. So I called Sony CS to see what was up. They tell me you can only play a game on your primary system. If you want to play it on the other, you have to switch that system to primary, which is not only a pain in the assassin's creed, but you can also only change it so many times per year. You've got to be kidding me. Nope. So what is the point of even having a primary and secondary system if you can't even use them for the same games? and the CS agent literally told me he doesn't know. He said the only way around it is to buy a second version of the game.

As you can imagine, I was pretty hot about it. I mean, I get the whole deal about trying to reduce instances of people abusing the system by buying a game and then letting four of their friends install it on their systems, but making it so you could only install it on one was going too far, IMO. I mean, a single owner should be able to install it on however many systems he or she owns. And I'm positive there is a relatively easy way to establish that the game is installed under the right owner. Heck, all you would really have to do is tie the machines to the PSN account, which they do anyway and just check to be sure that both (or all) systems belong to the same owner. NOT HARD, Sony.

So I told myself, next time, I'm getting an Xbox. However, my hatred for Microsoft runs deep, and when it came time, I just could not bring myself to get one. Plus we moved into a bigger house, so now I have a man cave and don't have need of a second system. It still grinds my gears that Sony did that though.
END RANT
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 2,726   +2,960
TechSpot Elite
RANT
I've been a PlayStation user since the beginning, and for most of that time, I've been satisfied with the experience. I've never owned an Xbox or had any interest in owning one. Although to be honest, part of my reluctance was simply because I hate Microsoft and refused to hand it over any of my money, but that's a whole other rant.

That said, over the last several years (starting with the PlayStation 4), Sony has been pissing me off over a few issues that almost pushed me to buy a Series X.

The biggest gripe I had/have is that starting with the PS4, you could only install games on one [primary] console. Before that, you could install the same game without buying another copy on up to 5 machines. Now I have no need to install a game on five machines, but I have always had two for every generation of PS I have owned. One in the living room and one in the bedroom, That way if someone wanted to watch TV or whatever, I could just head into the other room and continue playing.

Well, along comes the PS4. I buy two, get them set up, and everything is fine, until one day, I tried playing GTA 4 in the bedroom. Went through the install process, then went to start the game, but nothing happens. Then I notice this little padlock icon in the corner of the game's icon. So I called Sony CS to see what was up. They tell me you can only play a game on your primary system. If you want to play it on the other, you have to switch that system to primary, which is not only a pain in the assassin's creed, but you can also only change it so many times per year. You've got to be kidding me. Nope. So what is the point of even having a primary and secondary system if you can't even use them for the same games? and the CS agent literally told me he doesn't know. He said the only way around it is to buy a second version of the game.

As you can imagine, I was pretty hot about it. I mean, I get the whole deal about trying to reduce instances of people abusing the system by buying a game and then letting four of their friends install it on their systems, but making it so you could only install it on one was going too far, IMO. I mean, a single owner should be able to install it on however many systems he or she owns. And I'm positive there is a relatively easy way to establish that the game is installed under the right owner. Heck, all you would really have to do is tie the machines to the PSN account, which they do anyway and just check to be sure that both (or all) systems belong to the same owner. NOT HARD, Sony.

So I told myself, next time, I'm getting an Xbox. However, my hatred for Microsoft runs deep, and when it came time, I just could not bring myself to get one. Plus we moved into a bigger house, so now I have a man cave and don't have need of a second system. It still grinds my gears that Sony did that though.
END RANT
That's why Sony abuses their customers. Well, one of the reasons. No matter what they do, no matter how badly they piss you off, they know you will always come crawling back.
 

kira setsu

Posts: 354   +309
So Sony screamed its out of ideas to everyone pretty much.

which sorta makes sense with them trotting tlou out again while strangling it for every cent they can and sending some ps stable titans to pc, as of this moment playstation doesnt have an identity to me, I know exactly what nintendo and xbox/pc offers,

playstation? I just wait for its big titles to hit pc now, I dont even have a ps5, never even touched its controller, and whats strange is that I dont care, ps1 gave me final fantasies, ps2 gave me more games than I can count, ps3 and 4 gave me uncharted(my personal faves) ps5 has nothing for me.

so I sorta see why CoD scares em, I dont play it much but yeah, at this point if I didnt have my pc, I'd just snag an xbox and play it there.
 

dangh

Posts: 679   +1,070
"Microsoft called out Sony's deals to keep games like Deathloop, Ghostwire Tokyo, and the Final Fantasy VII remake off Xbox"

... that's reach, coming from company who started this crap with ME1, and then continued with Tomb Rider ;)
And I will remember who introduced a subscription to console's online gaming. Now they introducing gaas - and people believe they are doing it because of a good will. As they did before.
Prisoner dilemma finest example.

I'm so happy Steam came with a Deck. This enables PC gaming without a need for giving all your data to biggest corpos around and keep open os. And consolidation of the gaming industry already rolling through. Shortly we will have Tencent checking minors how long do they play, because it would be eassier put same restrictions everywhere. funny people still are fine with less competition and bigger corpos hoping, they will cater to their needs, not just for needs of masses.
 

drjekelmrhyde

Posts: 398   +147
Exclusives are what made people want consoles, now they are just PC's for dumb/poor people, although given the direction of the world perhaps that's a growth market and I should buy Sony/M$ stock....
That just reeks of PC master race. Some people want a console to just play game when they want and don't have to go out a build a +$1000 PC. they might even have small kids that they don't want screwing around on their PC
 

ZackL04

Posts: 843   +647
RANT
I've been a PlayStation user since the beginning, and for most of that time, I've been satisfied with the experience. I've never owned an Xbox or had any interest in owning one. Although to be honest, part of my reluctance was simply because I hate Microsoft and refused to hand it over any of my money, but that's a whole other rant.

That said, over the last several years (starting with the PlayStation 4), Sony has been pissing me off over a few issues that almost pushed me to buy a Series X.

The biggest gripe I had/have is that starting with the PS4, you could only install games on one [primary] console. Before that, you could install the same game without buying another copy on up to 5 machines. Now I have no need to install a game on five machines, but I have always had two for every generation of PS I have owned. One in the living room and one in the bedroom, That way if someone wanted to watch TV or whatever, I could just head into the other room and continue playing.

Well, along comes the PS4. I buy two, get them set up, and everything is fine, until one day, I tried playing GTA 4 in the bedroom. Went through the install process, then went to start the game, but nothing happens. Then I notice this little padlock icon in the corner of the game's icon. So I called Sony CS to see what was up. They tell me you can only play a game on your primary system. If you want to play it on the other, you have to switch that system to primary, which is not only a pain in the assassin's creed, but you can also only change it so many times per year. You've got to be kidding me. Nope. So what is the point of even having a primary and secondary system if you can't even use them for the same games? and the CS agent literally told me he doesn't know. He said the only way around it is to buy a second version of the game.

As you can imagine, I was pretty hot about it. I mean, I get the whole deal about trying to reduce instances of people abusing the system by buying a game and then letting four of their friends install it on their systems, but making it so you could only install it on one was going too far, IMO. I mean, a single owner should be able to install it on however many systems he or she owns. And I'm positive there is a relatively easy way to establish that the game is installed under the right owner. Heck, all you would really have to do is tie the machines to the PSN account, which they do anyway and just check to be sure that both (or all) systems belong to the same owner. NOT HARD, Sony.

So I told myself, next time, I'm getting an Xbox. However, my hatred for Microsoft runs deep, and when it came time, I just could not bring myself to get one. Plus we moved into a bigger house, so now I have a man cave and don't have need of a second system. It still grinds my gears that Sony did that though.
END RANT

Not true, you just need to be online to access from another console.

My brother had his ps4 marked as MY primary in a completely different house. Thats how we game shared all last gen.

Basically you need to be online to verify your username is not both on at the same time
 

eforce

Posts: 1,026   +1,477
That just reeks of PC master race. Some people want a console to just play game when they want and don't have to go out a build a +$1000 PC. they might even have small kids that they don't want screwing around on their PC
You can build a PC for around the same price as a console if you're willing to use used parts.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,578   +1,075
Staff member
Not true, you just need to be online to access from another console.

My brother had his ps4 marked as MY primary in a completely different house. Thats how we game shared all last gen.

Basically you need to be online to verify your username is not both on at the same time
I'll have to agree to disagree with you. Either that or something else differs between our situations. Because both of my PS 4s were online. Hell, the vast majority of my games are digital at this point, so they have to be. But the problem persisted as I described, and customer service was no help.

EDIT: Wait. That's not fair to say without providing more detail. Here is how the problem presented for me:

Played game on PS4a.
Shut down.
Installed same game on PS4b.
It was locked.
Called CS and was told about the primary console thing.
Switched PS4b to primary.
Game worked.
Shutdown.
Went to play game on PS4a.
Locked.
Made primary.
Unlocked.
Left PS4a on and powered up PS4b to check the status.
Game was locked.

So what was I doing wrong that I could not play it on one or the other without switching the primary status? Both systems were online and connected to PSN.
 
Last edited:

bviktor

Posts: 957   +1,404
Sony's been having a blast since the PS4, apparently it's been so long they can't even remember anymore what it's like to have actual competition. Poor poor them.
 

ZackL04

Posts: 843   +647
I'll have to agree to disagree with you. Either that or something else differs between our situations. Because both of my PS 4s were online. Hell, the vast majority of my games are digital at this point, so they have to be. But the problem persisted as I described, and customer service was no help.

EDIT: Wait. That's not fair to say without providing more detail. Here is how the problem presented for me:

Played game on PS4a.
Shut down.
Installed same game on PS4b.
It was locked.
Called CS and was told about the primary console thing.
Switched PS4b to primary.
Game worked.
Shutdown.
Went to play game on PS4a.
Locked.
Made primary.
Unlocked.
Left PS4a on and powered up PS4b to check the status.
Game was locked.

So what was I doing wrong that I could not play it on one or the other without switching the primary status? Both systems were online and connected to PSN.
Only thing I can think of is that you had a 3rd ps4 floating around in their system you maybe forgot about that was acting like #2?

I know I had to do this when upgrading to a Pro

did you ever try to de-register all devices?

Strange indeed, I spend the WHOLE last generation playing digitals on my home ps4 while my brothers was marked as my primary…and I would just text him, “hey I bought game X if you wanna play”
 
There have always been exclusives. but to buy a company for the most money ever in the industry's history and say that nothing is going to change in there favor is ****ing ignorance. the largest tech company in the world buys the biggest game company in the world and people are attaching Sony? WOW!